Location: Quintero, Chile. [ 32°46′58″S 71°31′50″W ]
We finally got our feet wet! Found a fantastic gentleman who had a sailboat on the coast and gave private lessons. There is an ASA equivalent here in Chile, but they are more focused on theory than practice, and are similar price as the ASA courses. Thus, Pash and I have decided to do the majority of our instruction in the states this summer.
It, however, is exceedingly frustrating to be soaking up theory from books, planning like crazy, and ducking under the looming specter of this unknown trip and not be able to do anything tangible. We’ve been itching for some time on a real boat in real waves. I do realize we’ll be inundated with these experiences very soon, but we’re impatient folk.
It was a fantastic connection to find Mario Carmona, a sailor from Santiago who kept a small house and boat in nearby Quintero, a small, industrial, port town. He happily arranged a few days of sailing with us with the aim of familiarizing us with the systems aboard and have us be able to sail by ourselves.
At the beginning of the the ‘long’ Easter weekend we met Mario at the Quintero Club de Yates and jumped aboard his 35′ Ericson. We spent the first hour or so in the calm of the bay focused on systems of a cruising sailboat, electronics, plumbing, navigation, and so on.
Motored out of our mooring between long rows of gorgeous sailboats and beat up fishing boats, a juxtaposition of reasons to be at sea. We practiced man-overboard drills, and handling the boat under power. Even with a 12,000 pound displacement she responded well to the diesel. A fat sea lion frolicked along with us, laughing at our ungraceful choreography. Bonus points if you can pick his laughing face out in the picture below.
When the wind picked up we raised the main and worked some drills under its power alone. Later we unfurled the 120 genoa and aimed out of the bay. Who’s laughing now, sea lion? As Chile imports the majority of it’s energy, La Bahia Quintero is a busy port where tankers of petroleum and natural gas are offloaded. So our first excursion to open water came after we ran the gauntlet of giants.
Making out into the open seas we worked drills on handling in large swell. We estimated they were 2.5 meters. Pretty good. Mario was a fantastic instructor. By the end of the day we were handling the boat by ourselves with ease… and only a little green from the swell.